According to the Ministry of Justice, whiplash claims increased by 50% between 2006 and 2016, even though the number of road traffic accidents fell over that time. This has an effect on the cost of motor insurance, with average prices jumping by 9% to a record high in 2017. The government puts this down to a “predatory claims industry that encourages minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims”, part of a “rampant compensation culture”.
Following a consultation period, the government introduced the Civil Liability Bill to the House of Lords in March 2018 and on 28 June 2018 it entered the House of Commons. It received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018, becoming an Act of Parliament.
The new law changes the personal injury compensation system in England and Wales, defining whiplash as “soft tissue injuries affecting the neck, back or shoulder arising from a road traffic accident”. This definition is applied to those driving a motor vehicle and does not apply to cyclists or motorcyclists. It seeks to reduce the overall number of claims by setting the amount of compensation for whiplash claims at a fixed amount and banning the practice of settling whiplash claims without medical evidence.
The government believes this can save £1 billion, which they hope will be passed on by insurers to the consumer, leading to lower premiums. They claim motorists will save £35 on average per policy. Leading insurers have pledged to pass on 100% of the savings to customers.
The government has legislated to fulfil this policy, so we’re marking it as ‘done’.
Crack down on ignorance, get the details
- Civil Liability Act 2018 – Parliament.uk
- New crackdown on whiplash claims set to cut insurance premiums – Gov.uk
- Civil Liability Bill (HC Bill 264) – Parliament.uk
- Policy Paper: Civil Liability Bill – Gov.uk
- Justice Secretary announces new bill to cut car insurance premiums – Gov.uk
- New Civil Liability Bill great news for motorists – Association of British Insurers
- Civil Liability Bill: Factual Q&A – Gov.uk
- Letter from insurers to Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice – Association of British Insurers